A friend of mine was remarking yesterday how her young son was totally into weather a while back, which is amusing since he is only about 6. That’s like when little kids say “when I was little…”. I love that. He was asking all sorts of meteorological questions and therefore, she gathered lots of new reading material for him. Same thing with my younger daughter…she’s been a barrel of questions lately. There were times this summer when I felt like I was on a gameshow…why are horseshoe crabs brown? Why does this do this and that do that? Why, why, why. She was a little question factory and I grasped at straws (at times) trying to be the all-knowing SuperMom, desperate to provide good (yet sometimes hazy) answers.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have me desperately (!) trying to take a simple cooking class which would arm me with the tricks to make my beloved french macarons. Just trying to expand my baking repertoire and dip my toes into some new culinary waters. And a good friend of mine (basically my age) is embarking on classes in graphic design for the first time, something that she has always loved and wondered why she didn’t pursue in the first place, back in college. Better late than never I say. Another friend told me the other day how she would love learn how to sing, but doesn’t see how there is time for that in her already very hectic (and expensive, due to kid’s activities) schedule and yet another friend took a voice-over class this summer just for the heck of it. I even visited some new friends of mine at their photography studio last week. I am always curious to see creative minds at work. You never know when something will spark you, right?
So there… the younger set and the older set. Then, there are the in-betweens…the middle schoolers, the high schooler and some of the college kids. For some reason, learning during those ages seems to be looked upon as somewhat of a chore. Homework? Why is there so much homework? PSATs? SATs? I have an eight a.m. studio class completely across campus? Ah, the horror of it all.
How do we go from sparks in the beginning to sparks at the “end” (I use that term rather loosely, but from a timeline perspective, I’m definitely approaching the right hand side)…yet the middle is so much quieter? Yes, the sparks are there…we all know many a great student…but it just seems that the craving for the sparks is somewhat less….hot.
Last night was my older daughter’s back-to-school night. We listened to the Principal, the PTO (or PTA, depending on what your school calls it) and then visited our kids’ classes, following their schedules for a particular day. One teacher in particular struck my husband and I as outstanding. He was extremely well-spoken, looked at the whole of the education process and went over what he would be teaching our child this semester.
He also quoted W.B. Yeats, adding that this was his teaching mantra…”Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”.
As I am getting older, I’m seeing that it is imperative to keep that fire lit and to continually stoke it. Explore something or anything that interests you. Why not? What’s to lose? Who knows what else it may lead to. This blog was a wee spark, and I’m thrilled with how it is growing. Macarons will be another thing. Learning to finally remove a fish from a hook will be another next summer. Hiking the Chamonix pass will be another someday.
We must keep that book open and continually keep turning the pages. Oh! There’s the bell…time to head to your next class…